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to make the world a safer place. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. >> this is "the chris matthews show." >> in america, we celebrate success. >> i never said this journey would be easy. >> that future is our destiny. >> we are moving forward, america. chris: america chooses. the question dominates the country, to reup a president urging him to reup his game to do more, or reject him, bringing in an alternative from the party it rejected last time. so many questions. jobs. foreign policy. national security. gender issues. all wrapped up in one. to hold or to change. if it weren't for that, suppose romney had run as a moderate from the get-go. suppose obama had faced down his rival in that first debate the way he faced down hurricane sandy? would have, could have, should have, of 2012. and finally, taking it in the gut. one candidate will suffer a personal and profound loss next
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tuesday night. either the first african-american president or a man who feels a duty to so many others or the man who wanted to redeem his father's own failed presidential bid long ago. i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. with us new york magazine's john heilemann. cnn's gloria borger. the grio and msnbc's joy reid. and the huffington post howard fineman. first up, here we are in the time capsule. the weekend before the election asking why is this so close? still so unpredictable. both men face big hurdles to getting elected and that's why it's so close. president obama's got the jobless he inherited but can't quite beat. friday's new jobs report was encouraging but gains are still behind what we need. in a reflection of that, 62% of voters say they would like or want major changes in an obama second term. and on the other side, mitt romney's a challenge that normally blocks any presidential candidate. not even 30% of voters think he understands the average american. john, these are amazing
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handicaps. the unemployment situation still high. sort of remoteness of mitt romney from the voter. they both carry these burdens. is this why it's so close? >> yes. in one word. and i'll give you a few more. what the president has been unbootable incumbent for really his entire term in office. you think about the condition of the macro economy, we're better off than we were four years ago but nowhere near good enough to the point where people feel confident about the american future, about the lives that their kids are going to have going forward. wages are still stagnant and growth is still tepid. the unemployment rate is still too high. the most of the country still thinks the country is on the wrong track. these are all huge, giant albatrosses for any incumbent to carry. it doesn't matter who they are. structural factors on the president. and the other is not the best kind of republican candidate you could have imagined in the circumstance and been haunted by things he's done in his past. whether it was four years ago, before he was a candidate, writing that "new york times" op-ed piece that said let detroit go bankrupt.
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huge issue in battleground states. the positions he took to win the republican nomination on immigration, alienating himself with hispanics. on contraception and planned parenthood with women. he's always going to be competitive. but the problems that he has inside the parts of the electorate that really matter, especially in a lot of battleground states, are all huge problems that he brought on himself in order to win. chris: let's go to the other side. the president's problem. his hurdles first of all. no president has been reelected with an sploment rate above 7.4% -- unemployment rate above 1kwr74%. reagan was 1kwr72% in morning in america. and good jobless numbers on friday, 171,000 but not meeting the need of this country for more jocks. >> absolutely. you have to go -- for more jobs. >> absolutely. you have to go back to f.d.r. for the numbers president alabama is looking at -- obama is looking at. most in the polls blame george w. bush more than barack obama for the way conditions were when he came in. when ask you are we better off now than four years ago, people remember four years ago the
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economy was going off a cliff and largely don't blame the president for that. and i think the second part is back to what john was saying. demographics is destiny. a lot more now than it has been in the past. and we have to almost throw out the conventional wisdom that it's things like the jobs numbers that matter. when you look at the demographics of this race, the president has such a commanding lead among african-americans. among hispanics. that it counterbalances mitt romney's lead among older white voters. and it makes it very difficult. if the electorate is still something like 26% minority, barack obama -- chris: i got to get the romney side. the burden, the remoteness, the fact that not even 30% of the people think he connects with their real lives. >> that's his problem. that's his problem. when you look at the polls over and over again, who is the person that understands my problem, who feels my pain, it's by 2-1 or 3-1, the president of the united states against mitt romney. the big problem i think that the romney campaign made is they thought they could just run against president obama's economy period. end of sentence.
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end of campaign. that was it. what they realized, i think, late in the game, is that people need to trust you also. and to feel that they know who you are because as my friend alice castellano, republican strategist, they're giving you the keys to the car and have to trust you to drive it. so that's the problem. they never filled in who mitt romney is. in a positive way. i think that got defined over the summer as out of touch. elite. a different set of rules. by the obama campaign. chris: a couple of big developments in the last week or so. let's start with the big one. tropical storm sandy. >> it explains and demonstrates who barack obama is as a political figure. first of all, it reminds everybody that he's president. and that he knows how to command things in difficult situations. as he's showing. second, mitt romney has been saying, hey, i'm the guy who can be bipartisan. not the president. the president failed. i, mitt romney, will be bipartisan.
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well, what's happened with the president as a result of sandy, first of all, chris christie, the republican governor of new jersey -- chris: keynoter. >> the keynote address attacking the president in tampa is now his best friend. i think they speak every night before they go to bed. >> scall me maybe. >> -- >> call me maybe. >> call me maybe, exactly. and mayor of new york, mayor bloomberg -- chris: also a sage. >> and knows which way the wind is blowing better than anybody decides late in the game because of the stand the president on climate change he, mayor bloomberg, will endorse the president. so it helps on bipartisanship. it helps on leadership. it helps on the presidency. it also edits mitt romney out of the conversation. here's mitt romney at the end of the campaign trying to become a moderate, trying to assure everybody as gloria was saying he hasn't so far, he's nowhere to be seen. chris: people in this world who watch these programs and watch television and read the papers have been befuddled by one central question. it's numbers. why do we see all these moderate, modest leads by the president in states like ohio,
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or seen as a couple point lead in tricky states like wisconsin and nevada and places like that, and yet when you look at the national numbers, you see a much more murky situation. what's the difference? >> well, the difference is that it turns out that white working class voters in the midwest and the industrial midwest are different from white working class voters in the south. with jim messina and stagg about why they don't care about national numbers. the first thing if you look at the deep south, and appalachia, places where there's a lot of resistance to the president, he's polling below -- he's polling 25%, 30%, the -- those really, really red states, in the blue states, the president like where he's far ahead he's ahead by 10 or 12 points and in the red states by 30 or 40 points. chris: the red states, it's like a ballooning up of the national number. but it doesn't really hurt him electorally. >> that's the point. the national polling organizations like gallup, especially, which had romney ahead by five or circumstances points before they had -- six
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points before they had to stop polling because of under water in new jersey, they poll nationally and so the southern number is what makes the national number look more favorable to romney. >> and in battleground states, as we all look at this -- the seven to nine battleground states, that are going to be so important, unemployment rate is lower in a lot of them. not florida. but in a lot of them. than it is nationally. chris: now we get to the bottom line. i love this time of year. and not just halloween but election coming on next tuesday. the most exciting night of the year. you first, joy. i went -- give a grade like a, b, c, d, e, f -- >> the romney campaign a c. because i think that they did as john heilemann said they tried to run a one issue campaign. that it's all the economy. and it's all about disliking the person of barack obama. which i think proves to be a poor strategy and they tried to pivot really late. i would give the barack obama campaign a b. and because of a couple of things. number one, they have so much infrastructure. in places like ohio. twice what romney has. they've been running --
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chris: lawyers in cleveland. >> and may not have been able to win a lot of the message wars but on the ground they are really swamping the mitt romney campaign. chris: -- >> both b's. i think the president didn't have much vision for the future in his campaign. tell us enough about what he wants to do in the next four years. until late in the game. mitt romney never told us who he was. chris: let's go to the other colgate right here. grade inflation taking over colgate right now? two b's for these candidates? >> well, i'll give them both c pluses, ok? and here's the reason. i think this has been one of the least satisfying, most -- >> right. >> draining and dispiriting campaigns i've ever covered. and i've covered a lot of of them. and the reason is there's no list of a driving dream from either side it doesn't seem to me. this is every bit as much of a slog and a ground war and sort of battle in which everybody -- chris: so well said. >> everybody is attacking everybody else from the beginning.
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it was a cynical strategy on both sides. not worthy of either barack obama or the better mitt romney who has yet to be seen. >> at the level of mechanics and tactics, the obama campaign is more savey and more sophisticated. so i would say at that level it's probably a b or a b-plus campaign. romney campaign made so many narrow tactical decisions that ultimately hurt it like i was saying before. about things they did in order to beat rick perry or beat newt gingrich or beat rick santorum that have really been problems for them going forward with key problems with the electorate. they're more a c plus candidate, but this thing of not -- it's not adjust good government thing. the obama campaign by not putting forward a big, positive agenda, left the playing field open to romney. chris: the base -- it's a b. a b minus for romney. that's how it works out among the four. we will be covering the cliff hanger late tuesday night. right through the victory and the concession speeches. i love concession speesms. we're going to do a better survey and predictors than ever before in television history of course. it's great, however, to look
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back at how this medium, television, our tv forefathers lacked, all the stuff we have today. take a look at john cameron swayze. he's on the far left there. on the very first presidential election night on television. 1948. >> governor thomas e. dewey. today conceded the presidential election to president truman. >> when you see the restrained glee of the democratic headquarters and the unabashed sadness, emptiness of the republican quarters, file as one individual a sense of humility. what a lucky thing that three little fellas like us on this new and tremendously growing thing like television had a chance to play a part in it. >> the next four years, to be a democrat in the white house and you're looking at him. [applause] chris: well, a close election just kept on ticking. here's nbc's chet hundley and david brinkley reporting the kennedy-nixon cliff hanger. >> kennedy needs five more to go over the top. and could now be the state of washington. it could be california.
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it could be new mexico. it could be illinois. the odds are that kennedy will win. there are still some of results still to come in. if the present trend continues. senator kennedy will be the next president of the united states. >> the election may have been a close one. but i want to express and my appreciation to all of them and to mr. nixon personally. chris: finally, the return of richard nixon winning narrowly over shubte humphrey in 19 -- over hubert humphrey in 1968. >> election night 1968. nixon's the one. that's the natural banner for any sprightly front page tonight. richard nixon won the election this time. where eight years ago, he lost it. in illinois. it was so close, it took forever. but he won it. it was again one of the closest elections in american history. >> i have done my best.
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i have lost. mr. nixon has won. so now let's get on with the urgent task of uniting our country. thank you. [applause] >> having lost a close one eight years ago and having won a close one this year, i can say this. winning's a lot more fun. [laughter] chris: i like nixon better the first time. and when we come back, one will have to lose, the first half, the american president would suffer a significant loss. so would the son of george romney who has been working for years to redeem his father's own loss back in 1968. plus scroops and
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>> one man will lose next tuesday night and will feel the brutal rejection every defeated candidate feels. but there are special circumstances this year. if mitt romney loses he will feel the regret of having come
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close but failed in his desire to redeem his father. that's george romney's own loss and his ill-fated campaign back in 1968. and here he was talking to nbc's chuck todd who asked him about what he wrote on his debate notepads. >> you write something about your father every time you walk behind a debate lecturn. what is it you do? >> i just write the word "dad." on the top of my paper. my dad was a huge presence in my life. i respect him enormously. i wish he were able to see what i'm up to right now. chris: and the first time an african-american president loses that will carry weight historically. the congressional black caucus. >> each night when we tuck in our girls at the white house i think about keeping that dream alive for them and for all of our children. and that's now up to us. and that's hard. i understand that. and nobody feels that burden more than i do. chris: you can imagine him with
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sasha suspect malia at bedtime thinking about -- and malia at bedtime thinking about that but you don't hear him talk about that. >> he doesn't talk about the ethnic piece and historic nature of his election. it's a stratjirk thing and part of the way that you have to run as an african-american trying to be president of the whole united states. and i think that african-americans are so personally deeply invested in this man that he doesn't really have to say it. it goes without saying. chris: so the personal hurt here will be profound. >> i think the personal hurt will be profound with either. and i think more so probably with the president. >> it's interesting -- chris: let's talk about romney. is it a big deal this thing? i'm not -- most people aren't interested in what son feels, his father, just a personal story. >> it is a personal story. the thing about both of these candidates and you look at romney talking about his father. and the president talking about his family. they're both oddly enough intensely private men. who don't publicly display affection, emotion, the way bill clinton did.
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they're not joyous politicians in that sense. like tip o'neill or a bill clinton. they need their wives to humanize them. chris: so well said. john, both sides. >> romney back in the spring when he was run, in the republican primaries and it looked like there was a chance he might lose to santorum, people close to him said he's like -- had peace with that already. and things there could be a deal that didn't go right for him and he is probably -- would be more reconciled to it. the president i think for a bunch of reasons, one, his level of competitiveness, most competitive politician i've ever seen. two, the degree to which he dislikes mitt romney and think that mitt romney is not worthy of the job. and the three that joy was talking about before, the president actually does and he tells people who's close to it and always has he feels the burden of his racial importance and historic significance a lot more than he talks about publicly. and i think he realizes that if he loses there will be a strain of history, i'm not crediting this strain but this is what a lot of people will say, he was an accident. he was an accident of history. he got elected on a tide of good feeling after george w. bush.
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because he carries that burden of race with him that will be much more painful. chris: well said. when we come back, scoops and predictions from the notebooks of these t president obama: there's just no quit in america... and you're seeing that right now. over five million new jobs. exports up forty one percent. home values... rising. our auto industry... back. and our heroes are coming home. we're not there yet, but we've made real progress and the... last thing we should do is turn back now. here's my plan for the next four years: making education and training a national priority; building on our manufacturing boom; boosting american-made energy; reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where... we can, and asking the wealthy to pay a little more.
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and ending the war in afghanistan, so we can... do some nation-building here at home. that's the right path. so read my plan, compare it to governor romney's... and decide which is better for you. it's an honor to be your president... and i'm asking for your vote... so together, we can keep moving america forward. i'm barack obama and i approve this message.
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>> tell me something i don't know. >> i think that on november 7, the election will not be over. we're going to have an overtime election and you may have more florida-style recounts. chris: i don't know what to say about that. >> if knit romney wins the split within the republican party, the divisions, will come out into the open. there will be open warfare among republicans, conservatives, who have been zipping their mouths while moderate mitt has emerged. chris: yeah. >> and start to challenge him. immediately. >> wisconsin is becoming the financial and ideological heart of the republican party and the conservative movement. if romney loses, a lot of that money, bradley foundation, bigger than the colt brothers, spending more money.
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a lot of that money goes to ryan and ryan in 2016 will come in with ideological and financial support. chris: i don't think he's shown much in this campaign. >> moving ton 2014. the -- on to 2014. the democrats are desperate to beat mitch mcconnell in kentucky. they think they have a candidate to run against him. ashley judd. who's from kentucky and very active. that's my old beat. >> they want her. the money people in kentucky want ashley judd. chris: when we come back, everybody is going to remember that one. the big question coming up, which side would take longer to accept a loss, would the obama troops take it harder or the accept a loss, would the obama troops take it harder or the romney supars,
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but the best thing he ever taught me was to say please and thank you. and to have the wind at my back when tinkling outside. great teachers aren't just found in school.... the more you know. chris: after the recount in 2000, al gore conceded to george w. bush and democrats accepted the loss for the most part. this week's big question, this time, which side would find it tougher to accept a loss?
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john. >> i think democrats would probably find it tougher to accept a loss simply because so much of the republican party is never enamored of mitt romney in any deep way. a lot of excuses if he loses. it will be he wasn't conservative enough. if only ryan had been at the top of the ticket, and only nominated someone else and make excuses for why he didn't win. for so many democrats barack obama was the thing, the one. for him to get beat, as long as -- talk about legitimacy, as long as they think -- the election was fair and square, they will be pretty crushing for a lot of the democrats. >> i agree. as long as it's fair and square. lots of republicans and you saw it at the convention, see mitt romney appearance a transitional figure. -- as a transirgsal figure. >> i don't think it's about mitt romney. i think it's all about barack obama. democrats will be deeply demoralized, african-american democrats more so. but i think that the base of the republican party cares about only one thing and that is getting rid of barack obama and i think they will be infuriated and they don't care whether it's mitt romney or anyone else. chris: howard, big question to you. a lot of polls show it's
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possible that romney could win the popular. although it has no meaning in our constitution. will the right not accept the loss if they win the popular and lose the electoral college? will they cause trouble? >> i agree with joy. and my whole career has been about covering the rise of the conservative republicans in the south. as the defining principle of the modern republican conservative parlte. they will be full of conspiracy theories and craziness if barack obama wins again. it will drive them completely nuts. and i think we've had a decline in comity to use an old fashioned word in our politics since 2000. if the electoral college versus the popular vote i think and the president wins, i think you're going to see a rumble of paranoia and regret and anger like you won't believe coming out of the republican base. chris: and i agree about the emotions of this campaign. thanks. great roundtable this week and john heilemann, gloria borger, joy reid, welcome to the show. and she has been great. and howard fineman. that's the show.
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thanks for watching. the paperback edition of my book "jack kennedy, elusive hero" comes out t president obama: there's just no quit in america... and you're seeing that right now. over five million new jobs. exports up forty one percent. home values... rising. our auto industry... back. and our heroes are coming home. we're not there yet, but we've made real progress and the... last thing we should do is turn back now.
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here's my plan for the next four years: making education and training a national priority; building on our manufacturing boom; boosting american-made energy; reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where... we can, and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. and ending the war in afghanistan, so we can... do some nation-building here at home. that's the right path. so read my plan, compare it to governor romney's... and decide which is better for you. it's an honor to be your president... and i'm asking for your vote... so together, we can keep moving america forward. i'm barack obama and i approve this message.

The Chris Matthews Show
NBC November 4, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EST

News/Business. (2012) New. (HD) (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Romney 11, Barack Obama 7, Obama 6, Mitt Romney 5, Kentucky 3, George W. Bush 3, John Heilemann 3, Gloria Borger 2, Illinois 2, Afghanistan 2, Malia 2, Ashley Judd 2, Mr. Nixon 2, Richard Nixon 2, Howard Fineman 2, Nixon 2, George Romney 2, New Jersey 1, Washington 1, Wisconsin 1
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